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Taking a look at potential September call-ups for the St. Louis Cardinals

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When rosters expand in September, here's a list of minor league players that are being considered for the call-up.

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Exactly one week ago, Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak was asked about potential September call-ups on KMOX's Sports on a Sunday (link to audio included)—specifically Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty. He confirmed, "I would agree about Grichuk," but in regards to Piscotty, he stated that he "does not need to be protected this year. Therefore, putting him on the roster, I don't know if that makes a whole lot of sense."

Instead, he chose to expand on Tommy Pham—mentioning that his name "gets zero play in this town" (he obviously doesn't read VEB's comments section or Future Redbirds) and raving about his "outstanding year" with Memphis. He continued, "This is probably the strongest year he's had. Tremendous athlete. Can play center field. You look at his slash lines right now and the type of season he's having from an offensive standpoint, it's pretty impressive."

Thus, there are two nearly-sure bets when rosters expand, but Mozeliak mentioned the possibility of "four or five" being called up, so who's left? Presumably, Carlos Martinez will already be back up, so that he is available for the postseason (should they make it, of course), but there's a chance Tyler Lyons is given another shot, and the Michael Wacha situation is ever intriguing as well. With the Memphis Redbirds tied atop their respective divisional standings, any September call-up will severely deplete their chances in the Pacific Coast League playoffs, but the potential success of the big league club clearly trumps the potential success of the Triple-A club.

Tommy Pham

Year

Level

Team

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

2014 AAA MEM 88 315 .339 .400 .512 .912 .173 .402 140

If it weren't for a long list of injuries, Pham might have already made his big league debut. However, now at 26 years old, his prospect status is all but exhausted, but that clearly has not had a negative impact on his 2014 performance. As Mozeliak said, he is having his best offensive season as a professional yet—look at that OBP and wOBA!—and he is quite deserving of a shot this September. He first would have to be added to the 40-man roster, but if the Cardinals believe in what they see in Pham, this shouldn't be much of an issue. Plus, as John Nagel at CardinalsFarm noted back in July, Pham will become eligible as a minor league free agent if he is not added to the 40-man roster this season.

Randal Grichuk

Year

Level

Team

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

2014 AAA MEM 98 429 .268 .324 .501 .825 .233 .356 110

Grichuk's power bat (22 home runs, .233 ISO) has been terrific for the Redbirds all season, but in his small-sample-sized stint (48 PAs) with the big league club, he looked overmatched overall and specifically lost on breaking balls. His bat has cooled a touch (.254/.333/.475) since the Triple-A All-Star break, but just his mere threat of a home run already makes him more appealing as a late-in-the-game pinch hitter than Suga Shane, in my opinion.

Xavier Scruggs

Year

Level

Team

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

2014 AAA MEM 118 467 .278 .362 .480 .842 .202 .372 120

Scruggs has been on fire for the Memphis Redbirds—.360/.430/.676, with 9 home runs and 29 runs drive in since the Triple-A All-Star break (32 games). Considering Scruggs is a 26-year-old first baseman who relies primarily on one tool (yes, his glove at first is also pretty good, but that's not really why he'd be called up) for his value and has yet to have a big league plate appearance, there is a pretty good chance he could end up like Brock Peterson last season. Given his age and performance this season, why not at least give him a shot?

Greg Garcia

Year

Level

Team

G

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

ISO

wOBA

wRC+

2014 AAA MEM 100 421 .274 .358 .389 .747 .115 .340 99

Garcia made his big league debut this season (14 PAs), and his 2014 season in Memphis has shown that he is pretty much who we thought he was—a decent utility player who is much more deserving of a 25-man roster spot than Descalso. Plus, there's this prime example of true scrappiness:

As with any Matheny in-game management decision, though, will these potential September call-ups even get an opportunity to make an impact or will Matheny keep turning to Daniel Descalso and Shane Robinson off the bench due to their "veteran savvy"? I am not confident the Cardinals will call up four position players, but if they do, these are the four most obvious candidates—given their respective 2014 performances.